Paul Goldschmidt made the most of his return to the All-Star Game.
Goldschmidt, who was an All-Star in the National League in each of his last six seasons with the Diamondbacks, did not make the team in his first three seasons with the Cardinals (albeit one of those years did not contain a single game). And in his first Midsummer Classic at-bat since the 2018 season, Goldschmidt demonstrated that he still understood what to do.
In the first inning of Tuesday’s All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium, Goldschmidt smashed his first career All-Star Game home run, extending the National League’s early lead. However, the home side ultimately fell 3-2. The home run was the first by a Cardinals player since Yadier Molina in an All-Star Game (2017). Before that, no Cardinal had reached the postseason since Reggie Smith in 1974.
“It was cool,” Goldschmidt said, noting that his.959 lifetime OPS at Dodger Stadium is the most among active players (min. 100 PA). “It was quite enjoyable. I was unable to do it previously. I desired to perform well and contribute to our victory… It was a fantastic experience to sprint around the bases and accomplish that.”
The NL MVP candidate and power-hitting first baseman was one of three Cardinals to appear in the game. Albert Pujols went 0-for-1 in his final All-Star Game, but he and fellow Commissioner’s selection Miguel Cabrera shared a memorable moment when they were honoured.
And reliever Ryan Helsley lit up the radar gun, twice reaching 103 mph and eight times above 100 mph. In the era of pitch monitoring, he became the second player to throw 103 pitches in an All-Star Game. Miles Mikolas did not throw a pitch.
Pujols also offered a pregame statement to the National League squad in which he encouraged players to embrace every All-Star opportunity, whether it was their first or tenth.
There have been many cool moments in my career, as well as many amazing games and major stages, remarked Pujols. “But to be able to be in the All-Star Game like this and to see the players you competed against for 162 games over the course of the season, and then to get together for a couple of days just to have fun, is incredible.”
Goldschmidt momentarily appeared to be a candidate for Most Valuable Player of the All-Star Game. In the first inning against AL starter Shane McClanahan, he jumped up to a 2-0 lead before launching a single home run an estimated 415 feet to left-center, per Statcast. The ball departed Goldschmidt’s bat with a speed of 109 miles per hour, the second-fastest of the night. It gave the NL a 2-0 lead.
“I’m just trying to put the ball in the middle of the plate,” Goldschmidt explained. “As I stated previously, we faced [McClanahan] earlier and I had popped up a few balls, so I was attempting to get a little more on top of one. Did not wish to be absent.”
He did not, as he hit the night’s sole home run for the National League.